Christine Keeler, the woman who arguably tipped the pendulum that commenced the swinging decade of the 1960s, has died at the age of 75.
As a young model and the protege of society osteopath Stephen Ward, Keeler was the girl at the heart of the Profumo affair that subsequently demolished Macmillan's scandal rocked government. It was notoriety, rather than fame, that swiftly followed Keeler following her lover John Profumo's resignation and Ward's immoral earnings trial, and it was notoriety that continued to dog her for the rest of her life.
I have blogged about Keeler, Profumo and Ward several times down the years (see here) as it's long been a subject that has fascinated me. The news today that she passed away from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease came just a little over a week after Profumo made the news once more, when declassified MI5 files which revealed that the disgraced MP had had an affair with German model, Gisela Winegard, a Nazi spy in the early 1930s. It's ironic that, given how Profumo and Keeler's names and fates are forever intertwined, her death should arrive just days after one more revelation from her former lover who passed away eleven years ago. It was a fate Keeler certainly paid a hefty price for; broken marriages, estranged family, and scarce employment (she was sacked from the position of school dinner lady when a headmaster learned her real identity) all added to her woes. In later years she lived as a virtual recluse, often donning disguises to preserve her anonymity and keep out of the spotlight.
A victim of her time whose main crime was simply to be Christine Keeler, I hope she's at peace now.